Index, Granite, Highland shine in latest IRRs from CalPERS

Curious about a certain venture fund’s performance, but too afraid to ask? We got you covered—even if you aren’t a limited partner in the particular fund you’re curious about.

Thanks to the very public California Public Employees’ Retirement System, we have performance data for no fewer than 149 funds. There are lots of familiar names on the list. CalPERS is an investor in funds from Austin Ventures, Battery Ventures, Clearstone Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Morgenthaler Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Oak Investment Partners Redpoint, U.S. Venture Partners, Worldview Technology Partners and loads more. Sorry, no numbers for Kleiner Perkins or Sequoia, but we all know they’re minting money anyway, right?

The CalPERS report is fun to reference whenever you run across a venture firm. It makes NEA’s $2.5 billion fund 12 all the more interesting when you can see that the firm’s vintage 1999 fund 9 had a net IRR of -13.1% and NEA 10 (vintage 2000) is returning about what you’d expect to get off a T-bill, hauling in a wholly unimpressive 5.4% as of March 31, 2006.

Then again, today’s losers can be tomorrow’s big winners. Take a look at our “Big Swingers” list, which tracks the funds that made the biggest swing from negative to positive territory from June 30, 2004, to March 31, 2006. Rhone Capital, a little buyout shop in New York, topped the list with Rhone Partners II. Its vintage 2003 fund posted a net IRR of 82.4% in Q1 after recording a net IRR of -18.1% in Q2 2004, according to CalPERS.

Three venture capital funds stood out on the “Big Swingers” list: Granite Global Ventures, Index Ventures and Highland Capital Partners. Granite showed the most improvement. The net IRR for Granite Global Ventures’ vintage 2001 fund went from -13.1% in Q2 2004 to 41.7% in Q1 2006, thanks to Yahoo’s purchase of a 40% stake in portfolio company for $1 billion. That is one heck of a swing.

Likewise, to the sale of Skype to eBay really moved the needle at Index Ventures. The new IRR for the firm’s vintage 2001 fund shot up from -15.5% to 37.9%. And Highland proved that medical technology can pay off. Its Highland Capital Partners VI (vintage 2001) went from a net IRR of -20.8% in Q2 2004 to 16.3% in Q1 2006 thanks to the 2004 IPO of Conor Medsystems.

For performance data for CalPERS’ entire list of 149 funds, click on the following link: Complete IRRs for 3/31/06 for CalPERS